No matter who you are or where you are on life's journey, you are welcome here!
In this issue of the eBulletin:
The Meeting Ground * ONA Reaffirmation & Survey
Fall Family Movies * Bridge Bread
Women's Book Group * And much more!
This Sunday, September 2
Worship at 10:30 AM in the Sanctuary
Communion & Prayground
We will celebrate birthdays next Sunday!

Rev. Dr. Bill Smutz Preaching,
"Long-Distance Healing: A Perseverance Story"

Communion Preparer: Mary Lou Mellish
Greeters: Lawrence Family
Ushers: Mark Barlow, Paul Evensen, Karen Safe, Gerry Frankenfeld
Welcome & Announcements: Michele Bryan
Liturgist: Karen Smethers
Infant-Preschool: Anne Chao
Summer Music Team: Samantha Arten, Carol Bell, Dan Brodsky, Mary Brown, Bruce Carvell, Hannah Rice, and Nathan Ruggles
Counters: Karen Safe, Mary Lou Mellish
Coffee & Community: Julia Walker
NEW SPACE FOR OUR INFANTS, TODDLERS, AND PRESCHOOLERS!
Our youngest FCC children have a new space on Sunday mornings - on the main level right across from Pastor Bill's office.
WATCH OUR SERVICES ONLINE
If you can't worship with us in person, you can join us virtually on our livestream! Each Sunday at 10:30 AM we broadcast our worship service live on Ustream, which you can access online  HERE . All of the worship services from the past month are saved on our Ustream page, so you can go back to view services you missed or would like to revisit.
BECOME A SUNDAY LITURGIST
"Liturgy" means "the work of the people," so we like to add voices to our worship services. Would you like to become a lay liturgist to help lead the worship liturgy on Sunday mornings? Let us know!
HOST COFFEE HOUR
We gather after worship for a time of fellowship with coffee and treats. We provide the beverages, and coffee hour hosts bring sweet and savory goodies.
THE MEETING GROUND
Thursdays Sept. 13-Nov. 15
First Congregational Church of St. Louis is embarking on a new and exciting journey this fall as we kick off The Meeting Ground on Thursday nights for ten weeks. This is a weekly opportunity for our faith community to come together for music, meal, and learning. Through this new endeavor we hope to strengthen relationships and dig into the fundamentals of our faith. We will also focus more on inter-generational opportunities for our youth.
Thursday Evening Schedule

4:30-5:30: Bell Choir Rehearsal & Out Before Dark Study
  • The Bell Choir is directed by Sarah Bereza, and is for adults and youth 6th grade and older.
  • Out Before Dark is led by Bill Smutz, and is a book study for those who prefer not to drive after dark. We will meet in the Parlor.

5:30-6:15: Communal Meal
  • Simple catered meal in the Social Hall; Suggested donation of $8/person, $20 max. family cost.

6:30-7:30: God's Blue Earth Elementary Study & Multi-Generational
Back to the Text with Jonah
  • God's Blue Earth is led by Emily Stokes, and is for children in kindergarten-5th grade. We will meet in the Social Hall and celebrate the sacred gift of water.
  • Back to the Text with Jonah is led by Bill Smutz, and is for those in grades 6-106. We will read, explore, and perform together the book of Jonah. We will meet downstairs in the Fellowship Hall.

7:30-9:00: Chancel Choir Rehearsal
  • The Chancel Choir is directed by Sarah Bereza, and includes volunteer and professional singers. High school youth are welcome.
BE A PART OF OUR CHILDREN'S FAITH JOURNEYS
If you are interested in helping our kids and youth on their faith journey we could use your help! We are in need of Sunday school teachers for the Kindergarten-Second Grade class this 2018-19 school year. We ask teachers to commit to teaching twice a month and teachers always teach in pairs. If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please contact Emily Stokes
INFANT-PRESCHOOL CARE
Our littlest ones are taken care of by volunteers on Sunday mornings. We have a need for some more people to join our team, so if you are interested, please contact Anne Chao or Emily Stokes .
ONA REAFFIRMATION & SURVEY
In June, a new program was announced to explore and reaffirm our congregation's commitment to being open, welcoming, and affirming of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer members and friends. In the UCC, it’s known as being Open and Affirming, or ONA, and First Congregational voted to become an ONA congregation in 2005. We welcome your participation in an online survey (or we have paper copies available at the church). This survey, which should take less than 10 minutes to complete, is one element of a four part listening phase underway this summer. A session to discuss the results will be held in September.  
YEAR-ROUND STEWARDSHIP
We are very fortunate here at First Church to experience God’s abundance in helping us all live God’s Love, do God’s work and learn God’s word. To ensure that we have the financial resources to meet our goals we need to continuously review where we are, what we have and what we need. Therefore the S&A committee with support of the council has determined that we need a year round stewardship program to develop strategies, plans and actions to ensure that our short, medium and long term financial resources are in place to both meet our current requirements and help fund our longer term goals. We will be communicating with the congregation weekly through the weekly e-bulletin starting on 7 th September so that everyone knows where we are and what we need financially so that we can successfully do God’s work. A team is being set up and we are looking for 2-3 volunteers to work for no more than 4 meetings to set up our Year Round Stewardship Program – anyone interested please contact either Pastor Bill or Paul Brady .
WOMEN'S BOOK GROUP
Wednesday September 5, 7:15 PM
The First Congregational Book Group will meet on September 5th, Wednesday evening, at 7:15 in the parlor. Please think about joining the group if you like to read and talk about a book, eat snacks, and socialize. 

For September we are reading  There Your Heart Lies  by Mary Gordon. At nineteen, Marian Taylor cut herself off from her wealthy, conservative Irish Catholic family and left America to volunteer in the Spanish Civil War - an experience she always kept to herself. Until, in her nineties and diagnosed with cancer, she finally shares what happened to her during those years with her granddaughter, Amelia, a young woman with a good heart, but only a vague notion of life’s purpose. This is an emotionally and historically rich work with strong characters for whom Gordon writes interior monologues which convey arresting insights and the startling immediacy of the intersection of brutality and faith. Please join us for the discussion of the book led by Ginny Crowley.
OUTDOOR FALL FAMILY MOVIE NIGHTS
September 7, October 12, and November 2
Our outdoor movie nights are back! We'll watch family-friendly movies on the garth on our blow-up screen. You bring a chair or blanket and your favorite movie snack, and we'll provide hot chocolate and popcorn.
Sept. 7 at 7:30 Moana * Oct. 12 at 6:30 Sing * Nov. 2 at 6:00 Coco
BRIDGE BREAD FOR SALE
Sunday September 9
Next Sunday we will have Bridge Bread products for sale, focusing on newer products; especially the classic bagels! Bridge Bread is a local social enterprise designed to provide job opportunities for people experiencing homelessness. Please help keep Bridge Bread bakers in jobs and homes by spending your bread, pastry, and bagel money here at church.
Other upcoming BB sales at FCC:
-Sunday October 7
-Sunday November 18
-Sunday December 16
Learn more about Bridge Bread at bridgebread.org , and watch their video, "Hope in the Baking".
FALL KICK-OFF & PICNIC
Sunday September 9
Join us as we celebrate the end of summer and the beginning of the school year on September 9! During worship we will bless our Sunday school teachers and begin the fall Sunday school classes. We will also present 4th graders with Bibles. If you have a 4th grader, contact Emily Stokes . After worship we'll have a potluck picnic out on the garth! Membership & Fellowship is providing veggie burgers and hot dogs, and we're all invited to bring a side dish, salad, or dessert to share. At the picnic we'll celebrate and welcome our new Minister of Music, Sarah Bereza.
CONVERSATION WITH OUR VICE-MODERATOR
Sunday Sept. 16 after Worship
Our vice-moderator, Ward Klein, will lead us in a conversation about FCC’s mission, vision, and core values. Please join us! More details to follow.  
 
ARTS & FAITH ST. LOUIS INTERFAITH CONCERT
Sunday Sept. 16, 5:30 PM
The theme of this year's free concert is "Great Music of Many Faiths," and it will take place at the Sheldon Concert Hall. The concert will feature both adult and young singers and musicians from faith communities across the metropolitan area who will share their most treasured music with us. For more information, visit ArtsFaithSTL.org or call 314-533-9900.
FOOD OUTREACH WORK DAY
Saturday September 22, 8:00 AM
Come join our volunteer team (ages 16 and up) on our annual trip to assist Food Outreach with packaging and storing meals for people living with HIV/AIDS or cancer. We need at least 20-25 people. Food Outreach is located at 3117 Olive. If you wish to carpool, please meet at the church at 7:30am (and please note that when you sign up). We usually work until 11 am. 
STAYCATION BIBLE SCHOOL
Sunday September 23
Our last Staycation Bible School event is a trip to Powder Valley Nature Center on September 23 after worship. Bring a picnic to enjoy with the rest of the group, and then we will explore God's creation on hikes through Powder Valley.
Contact Emily Stokes to RSVP.
CHURCH COOKBOOK
We are putting together a First Congregational Church cookbook. We need recipe submissions from our members and friends! We are looking for a variety of recipes that include good for kids, parties, coffee hour, etc. Please pick up a submission form at church. If you need help adding a recipe please feel free to email Chelsea Safe . We will be selling the cookbook for $20/book.
ANNUAL FUNDRAISER
Saturday October 20, 6:30 PM
Because last year was such a fun success, this year's fundraiser to support the ministries and mission of FCC will again be a Chef's Tasting Dinner, featuring delicious tasting portions from our very own FCC chefs. We'll also have silent and live auctions full of exciting offerings from our members, friends, and local organizations and businesses. If you have something to donate to our auction (like a gift basket, handmade item, party, vacation home, etc.), please contact Hannah Rice . If you know of a local business owner who might be interested in donating, pick up a donation letter and form from the office. Many letters have already gone out to area businesses.
UNLEASHING POTENTIAL'S
ART & SOUL FUNDRAISER
November 2, 6:30 PM
Unleashing Potential (one of our mission partners) has its annual fundraiser at the Four Seasons Hotel on Nov. 2. UP has been working with low income St. Louis children since 1913 and now serves over 1700 kids.. Elisa Wang serves on their board and would love to get a couple of First Church tables at the celebration. If you’re interested, please talk with Elisa!
JOIN "HOME PLATE" - HOST DINNER FOR WASH U STUDENTS
Starting this Fall
Washington University is looking for warm-hearted families to host 2-3 students for casual dinner and conversation. Help them feel at home in St. Louis and your family can enjoy the company of Wash U's incredibly smart and talented kids. We only require that you have 2-3 get-togethers over the course of the academic year. We also try to match students to family interests. Many students stay with their families throughout their Wash U years! E-mail Risa Zwerling to sign up! We will ask you to host your first dinner this late September or early October.
This Week at FCC
Sunday September 2
10:30 am Sunday Worship
11:30 am Coffee & Community

Monday September 3
Labor Day - Church Office Closed

Tuesday September 4
10:00 am Sacred Studies & Fellowship

Wednesday September 5
7:00 am Wydown Men's Club
12:00 pm FCC Staff Team Meeting
7:15 pm Women's Book Group

Thursday September 6
12:00 pm Mama Cat & the Potbangerz
7:30 pm Chancel Choir Rehearsal

Friday September 7
7:30 pm Fall Family Movie Night

Sunday September 9
10:30 am Sunday Worship
11:30 am Fall Picnic
FCC Church Office
Contact Us Via Email

Rev. Dr. Bill Smutz: Interim Senior Minister
Emily Stokes: Minister of Children & Families
Dr. Sarah Bereza: Minister of Music
Hannah Rice: Minister of Administration and Membership
Anne Chao: Preschool Director
Valerie Jackson: Member in Discernment

Phone: 314.721.5060 Fax: 314.721.2716 Preschool: 314.721.7404